Once again, after decades of failed plans and attempts, the City Council is trying to breathe life into a strategy for developing the city hall site. We urge the Council to take lessons from previous attempts and get the process right this time.
We believe with some careful balancing of interests we can find a “sweet spot” for community consensus on this undertaking. We suggest a strategy of addressing the interests of a healthy cross section of constitutents to build a broad base of support in the community.
- Many citizens want a Council Chamber large enough to handle the overflow crowds we sometimes get at Council meetings.
- Numerous city committees and non-profit groups need flexible meeting spaces.
- Many citizens want our hard working city employees to have functional work spaces, including decent bathroom facilities.
- Most of us value pleasant, attractive open spaces.
- Those interested in revitalization of downtown would support some modest commercial uses on the highway.
- Many citizens want to be assured that we can afford a new civic center without weakening our overall financial health.
- Many would support some low key private development rights on the site to help defray costs.
- Most Delmarians favor an unpretentious architectural style that reflects Del Mar values.
- Prominent placement on the site as a community statement is important to many.
- Size and human scale are important to many.
- There may be opportunities for strategic alliances (for instance joint use of auditiorium space with the Winston School).
- Many want the city to retain ownership of the entire site so that all uses will be subject to community approval.
- Most Delmarians want a healthy, open planning process with many opportunities for community input.
Stitching all of these constituencies into a supportive coalition is called leadership. If the Council members can step up to this challenge, we have a good chance to achieve unity in Del Mar and a civic space we can be proud of.